The Message in a Bottle Mailbag is a monthly feature of the e-newsletter, Pearls for Your Practice: The Product Navigator. Each month, Editorial Director Joshua Austin, DDS, FAGD, answers reader-submitted questions to help you navigate your dental product decisions (and more!). This month, he responds to a question about strippable fibers and soft-tissue lasers, shares his tips for using glass ionomers, and explains why he has hired a speakers' coach.
Dale from Nevada wrote: I am thinking about getting a soft-tissue laser, but I don’t want to deal with the disposable tips. What are your thoughts on using strippable fibers instead?
Excellent question, Dale. I do agree that the disposable costs of using a laser increase tremendously when using disposable tips, compared to strippable fibers. A few of the lasers on the market give you the option to change back and forth, should you choose to do so. The AMD Picasso Lite Plus soft-tissue laser (which I just reviewed in Dental Economics) is one of them. Another is the CAO Precise LTM soft-tissue laser. I am sure there are others, but those two jump into my head immediately.
The disposable tip is convenient, but it also increases the cost per use. I have found using a strippable fiber to be perfectly fine; I don't think it's a huge inconvenience. It takes me 20 seconds to strip and trim the fiber and have the laser firing. I think that is the way to go. Every once in a while, when I am in a hurry, I use a disposable tip on one of my lasers, but my preference is the strippable fiber by far. Check out the AMD Picasso Lite Plus and CAO Precise LTM and see if either fits your needs, Dale!
Renee from Tampa asked: How often do you use glass ionomer in load-bearing places?
Another interesting question, Renee! It’s not often—probably less than once a month—but I like that I have the option with products such as 3M Ketac Universal and GC Equia Forte. And in some situations, it can be a real lifesaver. Last week, I saw a patient who had deep distal decay on No. 18, with No. 17 in place. I thought Ketac Universal gave me a chance to minimize sensitivity, help the tooth form some reparative dentin, and release some fluoride deep in that box. Her occlusion was set up to make this more predictable, as I was able to keep forces off the restoration. Resin composite is still my go-to direct restorative material, so it certainly isn’t an everyday thing for me. It’s just nice to know there is a tooth-colored option for the right situations.
Chad from Texas wrote: Hey, I heard that you recently hired a speakers' coach for your lecturing. What’s up with that?
That is correct, Chad. I enjoy lecturing and want to be as effective as I can be. Content is only a portion of the whole package. Being engaging and entertaining is just as important, if not more so. My coach has helped me hone some of my stories into valuable lessons for the audience.
My friend Michael DiTolla, DDS, FAGD, is the best speaker I have ever seen, and he has worked with a coach on multiple occasions. If it helped him get to where he is now, then sign me up! If you are interested in getting onto the lecturing circuit, or if you already are and want to step it up, get a coach. Mike has worked with Paul Homoly, DDS, CSP, and my coach is Karen Cortell Reisman from Dallas. Her husband is a dentist, but she works both with dentists and nondentists. She has been really phenomenal at helping me get better.
Editor's note: Do you have a question for Dr. Austin? Is there a product you'd like to see him review? Or would you like to submit your own Pearl? Send an e-mail to [email protected]. You might just see it in the e-newsletter, Pearls for Your Practice: The Product Navigator! If you're not a Product Navigator subscriber, click here to sign up.
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